ANNIE GET YOUR GUN [1950 / 2021] [Warner Archive Collection] [Blu-ray] [USA Release] Dazzling Technicolor Musical Takes Aim At A Classic American Tale!

Betty Hutton [Annie Oakley] and Howard Keel [Frank Butler] star in this sharpshooting’ funfest based on the 1,147-performance Broadway smash boasting Irving Berlin’s beloved score, including “Doin What Comes Natu’rlly,” “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and the anthem “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” As produced by Arthur Freed, directed by George Sidney, and seen and heard in a digital transfer from restored elements, this lavish, spirited production showcases songs and performances with bulls-eye precision, earning an Oscar® for adaptation scoring. The story is a brawling boy-meets-girl-meets-buckshot rivalry. But love finally triumphs when Annie Oakley proves that, yes, you can get a man with a gun!

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1951 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture for Adolph Deutsch and Roger Edens. Nominated:  Best Cinematograph and Color for Charles Rosher. Nominated: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Color for Cedric Gibbons, Edwin B. Willis, Paul Groesse and Richard Pefferle. Nominated: Best Film Editing for James E. Newcom. 1951 Golden Globes: Nominated: Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for Betty Hutton. 1951 Laurel Awards: Win: Golden Laurel Award for Top Male Musical Performance for Howard Keel. Win: Golden Laurel Award for Top Female Musical Performance for Betty Hutton. 1951 Photoplay Awards: Win: Most Popular Female Star for Betty Hutton. 1951 Picturegoer Awards: Nominated: Gold Medal for Best Actress for Betty Hutton. Nominated: Gold Medal for Best Actor for Howard Keel. 1951 Writers Guild of America: Win: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Musical for Sidney Sheldon.  

FILM FACT No.2: The film adaptation cut the following numbers from the original score: "I'm a Bad, Bad Man," "Moonshine Lullaby," "I Got Lost in His Arms" and "An Old Fashioned Wedding" was written for the 1966 revival. The 2000 compact disc release of the soundtrack includes all of the film's numbers and "Let's Go West Again" which is a Betty Hutton number deleted before the film's release, and an alternative take of Keenan Wynn's "Colonel Buffalo Bill" and Judy Garland's renditions of Annie Oakley's pieces. The film was originally budgeted at $1.5 million, with $600,000 payable to Irving Berlin and Dorothy and Herbert Fields for the score and the book, comparatively cheap compared to the $2.3 million budget for Irvin Berlin's ‘Easter Parade.’ In 1973 it was withdrawn from distribution, owing to a dispute between Irving Berlin and M-G-M over music rights, which prevented the public from viewing this film for almost 30 years. It was not until the film's 50th anniversary in 2000 that it was seen again in its entirety. One of Betty Hutton's costumes, the very first “Wild West Show” costume seen in the film for the reprise of “There's No Business Like Show Business” is on permanent display at the Costume World Broadway Collection Museum in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Cast: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Louis Calhern, J. Carrol Naish, Edward Arnold, Keenan Wynn, Benay Venuta, Clinton Sundberg, Dorothy Abbott (uncredited), Bette Arlen (uncredited), Polly Bailey (uncredited), Hal Bell (uncredited), Evelyn Beresford (uncredited), Margaret Bert (uncredited), Norman Borine (uncredited), Tex Brodus (uncredited), Eleanor Brown (uncredited), Archie Butler (uncredited), George Calliga (uncredited), Sue Carlton (uncredited), Bridget Carr (uncredited), Sue Casey (uncredited), André Charlot (uncredited), Mae Clarke (uncredited), Dorinda Clifton (uncredited), Diane Dick (uncredited), Helen Dickson (uncredited), Michael Dugan (uncredited), Phil Dunham (uncredited), Edward Earle (uncredited), Marietta Elliott (uncredited), Herbert Evans (uncredited), Luigi Faccuito (uncredited), Budd Fine (uncredited), Elizabeth Flournoy (uncredited), Lee Tong Foo (uncredited), Mary Jane French (uncredited), Fred Gilman (uncredited), Mary Gleason (uncredited), A. Cameron Grant (uncredited), Marion Gray (uncredited), William Hall (uncredited), John Hamilton (uncredited), Sam Harris (uncredited), James Harrison (uncredited), Dell Henderson (uncredited), Carol Henry (uncredited), Shep Houghton (uncredited), Tom Humphrey (uncredited), Ed Kilroy (uncredited), Helen Kimball (uncredited), Judy Landon (uncredited), Nolan Leary (uncredited), Meredith Leeds (uncredited), Casey MacGregor (uncredited), Robert Malcolm (uncredited), Charles Mauu (uncredited), Edith Mills (uncredited), Rhea Mitchell (uncredited), Brad Morrow (uncredited), Forbes Murray (uncredited), John Mylong (uncredited), Kerry O'Day (uncredited), Anne O'Neal (uncredited), Susan Odin (uncredited), Rusty Parent (uncredited), Nino Pipitone (uncredited), Peter Price (uncredited), Charles Regan (uncredited), Al Rhein (uncredited), Alex Romero (uncredited), Buddy Roosevelt (uncredited), Carl Sepulveda (uncredited), Carl Sklover (uncredited), Dorothy Skyeagle (uncredited), Sandra Spence (uncredited), Shooting Star (uncredited), Larry Steers (uncredited),  Riley Sunrise  (uncredited), William Tannen (uncredited), Tony Taylor (uncredited), Jack Trent (uncredited), Ellinor Vanderveer (uncredited), Jackee Waldron (uncredited), Alice Wallace (uncredited), John War Eagle (uncredited), Bunny Waters (uncredited), Frank Whitbeck [Trailer Narrator] (uncredited), Frank Wilcox (uncredited), William Wilkerson (uncredited),  Marjorie Wood  (uncredited) and Chief Yowlachie (uncredited)

Directors: George Sidney, Busby Berkeley (almost all footage scrapped and reshot) (uncredited) and Charles Walters (uncredited)

Producers: Arthur Freed and Roger Edens (uncredited) 

Screenplay: Sidney Sheldon (screenplay), Dorothy Fields (musical book) and Herbert Fields (musical book)    

Composers: Songs: (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin), Music Direction: Adolph Deutsch and Additional Music: Roger Edens

Costume Design: Helen Rose (costumes: women) and Walter Plunkett (costumes: men)  

Cinematography: Charles G. Rosher, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

Technicolor Color Consultants: Henri Jaffa and James Gooch

Image Resolution: 1080p (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English

Running Time: 107 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Warner Archive Collection

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ [1950] was an M-G-M musical about the Old West and it is a joyous, vivid musical celebration of Wild West travelling shows and it has a lot of fun, and exaggeration combine to pummel subtlety into submission.

An adaptation of the hit 1946 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway show, the story is loosely based on the real adventures of sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her romance with fellow expert marksman Frank Butler. It's the late 1800's and the Buffalo Bill show featuring Frank Butler [Howard Keel] as a star attraction arrives in Cincinnati, Ohio. After having a troubled start that involved firing original star Judy Garland, the movie ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ found its formula. Basically, riotous star Betty Hutton was meant to play the rural Annie Oakley. Betty Hutton had a wilder personality and was much more believable as a Wild Woman of the West. ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ is loud, colourful, and almost childish in its unbridled enthusiasm.

M-G-M's wonderfully zesty film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ of Irving Berlin's Broadway smash stars a perfectly cast Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley, borrowed from Paramount to replace an ailing (and, to tell the truth, unsuitable) Judy Garland. George Sidney's bravura direction gets the most out of a marvellous score, which includes such classics as “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)” and of course, “There's No Business Like Show Business.” Handsome newcomer Howard Keel makes an impressive movie musical debut as sharp-shooting Frank Butler, and the Technicolor and costume design are particularly ravishing. It's hard to see how this could have been any better.

‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ was billed as “the biggest musical under the sun” and with the arrival of champion sharpshooter, Frank Butler, his personal manager, Charlie Davenport [Keenan Wynn] and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show in Cincinnati. The troupe brings a spark of excitement to everyone except Foster Wilson [Clinton Sunberg], a prickly hotel proprietor housing its entertainers. Foster Wilson is coaxed into a celebratory mood when backwoods sharp-shooter, Annie Oakley proves her mettle with a gun. Wilson arranges a contest between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Annie Oakley falls for him instantly and Frank Butler, alas, is not interested in this dirty little urchin. At the outset, the crowd heckles Annie Oakley.

Yet, to everyone's astonishment, she outdraws the seasoned Frank Butler and wins the contest. Humiliated by his defeat, Frank refuses to entertain Buffalo Bill's notion Annie Oakley should join the show as his assistant. Star-struck by the offer, Annie Oakley persuades Frank Butler to let her in the show. Together, they become its main attraction. Annie Oakley endeavours to prove to Frank Butler she also can be a lady, as well as his competition. Too bad, just as romance begins to blossom, Buffalo Bill is faced with a downturn in their revenue and popularity. As Buffalo Bill troubles stem from competitor, Pawnee Bill [Edward Arnold], Buffalo Bill decides to give Annie Oakley top-billing, a decision that irks Frank. After the show, Annie Oakley is introduced to Sitting Bull [J. Carrol Naish] who proudly adopts her as his daughter.

Now, Annie Oakley receives a goodbye letter from Frank Butler. While Buffalo Bill takes his show to Europe, Frank withdraws, then joins Pawnee Bill's traveling menagerie. Despite critical success in Europe, Buffalo Bill’s carnival continues to lose money. When he realizes his star is lovesick, Buffalo Bill returns to New York. Annie Oakley is eager to reunite with Frank Butler until she discovers he has since been consorting – a lot – with lots of eager debutantes. Buffalo Bill attempts a merger of his show with Pawnee Bill’s by selling off Annie Oakley's valuable medals. Viewing Annie Oakley's impressive assortment of accolades for marksmanship really sticks in Frank Butler’s craw. The two quarrel again, leading to a staged “reunion” competition. Only this time, Chief Sitting Bull persuades Annie Oakley to deliberately lose – the only real way to win her man for good. This strategy proves solid. Unaware Annie Oakley has thrown the competition, Frank Butler elects he is the better shot and immediately proposes marriage. Even more predictably, Annie Oakley accepts.

Please Note: At around 10:20 at the start of the film, there is an editing mistake where Betty Hutton is sitting on a wooden bench in front of the hotel and opens her mouth to sing, but at 10:21 we get a very bad editing cut with Betty Hutton still with her mouth open, but the camera is now in a different position as Betty Hutton starts singing.

Betty Hutton makes for an amazing Annie Oakley. When we first meet her with her brothers and sisters, Annie Oakley is a wild raconteur that shoots varmints and bursts into songs. Plus, I find Betty Hutton to be totally ideal for this Wild West character. ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ is a simple film that plays as an on-location musical adaptation of a pretty typical Broadway stage show. ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ was a huge hit because it was a way of the common purpose to see an almost-direct adaptation of a huge Broadway show.

Despite the fact that Ethel Merman wasn't even considered by M-G-M to repeat her Broadway triumph and unfortunately  Judy Garland fell by the way side due some serious problems, still despite this, ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ is still as alive and as fresh as the day it debuted on Broadway and for 1147 performances starting in 1946. It was Irving Berlin's biggest stage success both quantitatively and qualitatively. It sure had the most hit songs coming out of it, maybe the most for any Broadway show.

Both John Raitt and Howard Keel tested for the role and Howard Keel won the toss. Then Howard Keel broke his ankle falling off a horse on the set and they shot close-ups and around him. On top of that Frank Morgan who was playing Buffalo Bill died suddenly in the middle of the film. Most of it had to be reshot when Betty Hutton was borrowed from Paramount Pictures.

‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ was taken out of distribution from 1973 to 2000. The Irvin Berlin estate squabbled with M-G-M over music rights and then everything went sideways. As such, you had one of M-G-M’s biggest musical hits missing the VHS generation until the 21st Century. While stage show revivals kept the tale alive, that’s a big part of why Broadway fans don’t bring up this story when talking about musical highlights of that time. Thankfully, Warner Archive Collection has stepped up to save this Classic Hollywood Film for lovers of this film genre and that includes me also.


COLONEL BUFFALO BILL (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Keenan Wynn, Benay Venuta and Chorus]

DOIN’ WHAT COMES NATUR’LLY (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton and siblings]

YOU CAN’T GET A MAN WITH A GUN (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton]

THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOWBUSINESS (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Ensemble]

THEY SAY IT’S WONDERFUL (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton and Howard Keel]

MY DEFENSES ARE DOWN (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Howard Keel and Chorus]

I’M AN INDIAN, TOO (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton]

THE GIRL THAT I MARRY [Annie’s Reprise] (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Howard Keel]

I’VE GOT THE SUN IN THE MORNING (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton]

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton and Howard Keel]

MOONSHINE LULLABY (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton, Clinton Sundberg and siblings]

I GOT LOST IN HIS ARMS (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Betty Hutton]

THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOWBUSINESS [Reprise/Finale] (Written by Irving Berlin) [Performed by Ensemble]

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Blu-ray Image Quality – Warner Archive Collection presents the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ that finally makes its long-awaited Blu-ray debut with a brand new wonderful 1080p image and sourced from a 4K scan of the nitrate Technicolor negative. Warner Archive Collection nearly always knocks it out of the park with their transfers, but this one ranks among the best I have ever seen for a classic Hollywood musical film. The level of detail and clarity is stunning with the appropriate amount of natural film grain intact. The film appears to be almost entirely free of any dirt and damage, which makes the feature feel like it could have been made yesterday. The film features some vibrant colours within the costumes and set design that pop off the screen with a wondrous intensity. The black levels are also very deep with a nice stability throughout. There does not appear to be any pesky digital anomalies such as compression artefacts, banding or any other such nuisances. This presentation is a miraculous effort from Warner Archive Collection on all fronts.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Archive Collection brings us the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ with a standard 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio experience that produces clear, well-modulated sound that gives us really excellent fidelity and tonal depth, that is incredibly strong. With music being the driving force of the film, it is important to report that the track nails these elements beautifully. The track balances vocals with the festive show setting and the accompanying music with magnificent clarity. There are moments where the track is pushed to its limits with all of the competing elements, but the track maintains its fidelity very well. Normal dialogue comes through clearly from beginning to end. Warner Archive Collection has provided a wonderful audio track that does not exhibit any glaring signs of age-related wear-and-tear.

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ 2000 DVD Introduction by Susan Lucci [2000] [1080p] [1.37:1] [4:40] Here actress Susan Lucci introduces herself five floors above the Marquis Theatre on Broadway in the Theater District of Midtown Manhattan in New York City and at the time happened to be showing the new 2007 revival of “Annie Get Your Gun” and Susan Lucci had recently played the title role of Annie Oakley on Broadway in which she discusses the real-life history of Annie Oakley and the journey the character has had on the screen, especially talking about that in 1935 RKO released the first film about Annie Oakley entitled ‘Annie Oakley’ and starred Barbara Stanwyck as Anne Oakley and was directed by George Stevens. Susan Lucci recounts the legendary origins of Irving Berlin's Broadway musical “Annie Get Your Gun” and the making of the top-grossing 1950 Betty Hutton M-G-M musical ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ originally intended for Judy Garland in the title role.     

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Special Feature: Outtakes Musical Numbers: Here we get to view four individual musical numbers that did not make it into the finished ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ film and they are as follows:

Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly [1950] [480i] [1.37:1] [5:42] The original star of the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ was Judy Garland, who completed two production numbers before poor health forced her to leave the film. Fortunately, M-G-M preserved all of the footage Judy Garland shot for the film. The following sequences we get to view contain the song and surrounding dialogue with Clinton Sundberg.

I'm An Indian, Too [1950] [1080i] [1.37:1] [3:50] This was the second number completed by Judy Garland for the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ with a wonderful elaborate “I'm An Indian, Too” sequence, that was staged by Robert Alton. When Betty Hutton took over the Annie Oakley role, the sequence for “I'm An Indian, Too” was dramatically altered from the Robert Alton’s initial conception.

Colonel Buffalo Bill [1950] [1080i] [1.37:1] [2:56] This is one of the first sequences shot for the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ with the opening number “Colonel Buffalo Bill.” However, when production resumed with Betty Hutton, the role of Dolly Tate was recast and Louis Calhern replaced Frank Morgan as Buffalo Bill, due to frank Morgan’s untimely death due to a massive heart attack.

Let's Go West Again [1950] [1080i] [1.37:1] [4:02] “Let's Go West Again” was originally written for the stage production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” but was eliminated from the stage show before its Broadway opening. Irvin berlin talked M-G-M into restoring and shooting the song for the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ and eventually it was cut from the film.

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Special Feature: Audio Only Outtakes in Stereo: Here we get to hear three individual songs that were not used in the final film of ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ and are presented here. The standout piece is hearing Judy Garland attempting to nail the standout song “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ and they are as follows:

Colonel Buffalo Bill [1950] [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:33]

Let’s Go West Again [Betty Hutton Vocals] [1950] [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:12] 

There’s No Business Like Show Business [Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Howard Keel and Keenan Wynn Vocals with Errors] [1950] [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:29]

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Theatrical Trailer [1950] [1080p] [1.37:1] [2:41] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.’ The just under three-minute trailer is provided here and shows many of the various musical moments from the film while playing up the cast and the music of Irving Berlin.

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Special Feature: Song Selection: Here you can instantly access any of the film's main songs that includes the following: Colonel Buffalo Bill; Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly; The Girl That I Marry; You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun; There’s No Business Like Show Business; They Say It’s Wonderful; My Defenses Are Down; I’m An Indian, Too; The Girl I Marry [Annie’s Reprise]; I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning; Anything You Can Do; Moonshine Lullaby; I Got Lost In His Arms and There’s No Business Like Show Business [Reprise/Finale].   

Finally, ‘ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’ is a great deal of fun and is a very vibrant colourful film for the most part, but overall it is a really great Hollywood musical with great stars and as the old saying goes, “they don’t make ’em like they used to” is certainly applicable here. This, along with countless others, epitomized the lavish musical of the 1950’s. Betty Hutton is the heart and soul of this film with her completely committed performance as Annie Oakley. If you are unfamiliar with the film, you will be surprised to learn how many of the songs from the production are a staple of popular culture. Warner Archive Collection has released a Blu-ray with a stupendous image presentation and a lovely array of special features. If you are a fan of the film, then this release is dreams come true and one definitely to add to your collection. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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